Kinyamal target glory in global races
Commonwealth 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal is envisioning a great performance at the World Championships in Oregon next month and a title defence at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in early August.
It has been a rollercoaster for Kinyamal who won gold in the middle-distance race at his first attempt at the senior category in Gold Coast over four years ago.
It came as a shock to many when on Saturday he took a decisive burst from behind to win the 800m final and qualify for the World Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games.
He was quick to admit that the win signified a new beginning after a series of unconvincing results.
“It is a huge relief for me to win and return to the national team,” said Kinyamal who has struggled this season, having finished eighth during the national championship in April.
Kinyamal had initially focused on high jump alone and only took up running once he had completed his high school education at Mogonga Secondary School, in Kisii County.
“It is going to be quite special because this is the first time, I have made it to the World Championships. When I go there, I just want to fight hard to make it to the podium. It would mean a lot for me to perform well in Oregon because I am defending the title,” he said.
Born in Trans Mara, Narok County, Kinyamal made his first impact regionally at the 2016 East African Junior Athletics Championships, winning the 800m race. He was placed third at the Kenyan World Junior trials later that year and thus was not picked for the national team.
“ A few months ago, during my training in Eldoret, I fell and injured myself. It’s been tough for the past few months. I am glad to have won the trials and now the next step is to sit down with my coach, identify areas that need improvement and work on them in the next few weeks,” he added.
He has previously been referred to as the apparent heir to his role model, David Rudisha, the 800m record holder and two-time Olympic champion, who coincidentally was born in Kilgoris, Narok County only a few kilometres away Kinyamal’s home.
“We can only learn from what he has achieved. Rudisha remains in a distinct class of his own, I just want to achieve even a third of his achievements because even that will be immense,” he said after being named in Team Kenya for Oregon and Birmingham.
The Police Officer timed 1:43.55 to win the men’s 800m. He was followed by World Under 20 champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi (1:44.01) and Elias Ngeny (1:45.05) in second and third respectively.
“I am slowly getting back to my best after recent injury woes and form issues,” stated Kinyamal. “ he said.
He will be accompanied to Oregon by Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir, Cornelius Tuwei and Wanyonyi.
Kinyamal who is based at Kaptagat training camp said he gets motivation from training mates, including two-time Olympic marathon champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge and three-time World Half-Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor.
“I feel good to be amongst the champions, I am going to Oregon and Birmingham for big things,” he concluded.